FERPA for Parents
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as the Buckley Amendment) is a Federal law that helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides students the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.
What information may I have access to?
Anyone can request directory information. The student also has the right to withhold any directory information that they wish to withhold from any third party. A third party is anyone inside or outside of the university who does not have an “educational need to know” the information in the student record as a necessary part of their job.
Under FERPA, parents are third parties, with no rights to the record, although FERPA does include a provision that a parent could access the record if the student is listed as a dependent on their most recent federal income tax form. It is viewed as a matter of discretion as to whether or not the institution incorporates this provision into its policies.
What is Directory Information?
Directory information is information contained in an education record of a student that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
Louisiana State University has established the following as Directory Information and it may be released to those requesting it unless the student specifically requests otherwise by submitting written notification to the Office of the University Registrar.
- Student’s name, local address, and telephone number
- Student’s home address
- Student’s e-mail address
- Student’s major field of study/classification
- Student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of student’s attendance
- Degrees, awards, and honors received by student
- The most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
Louisiana State University will not disclose any other information without written consent from the student, with some exceptions as provided by FERPA.
Students have the right to refuse the disclosure of personally identifiable information as directory information subject to other overriding provisions of law. To withhold directory information, students must fill out the Request to Prevent Disclosure of Information form located in the Office of the University Registrar, Room 112, Thomas Boyd Hall.
If a student has chosen to restrict the release of directory information, NO information can be released without further written permission of the student. Should someone inquire about an individual who has restricted the release of his/her directory information, the appropriate faculty/staff response is, “I am sorry, I do not have any information on any such person.”
For more information concerning the privacy rights of students, please refer to the official university policy statement, PS-30: Student Privacy Rights.
May I access my child’s student records?
At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent right to access or inspect their son’s or daughter’s educational records, regardless of age, unless granted in writing by the student or the student is a dependent as defined by the IRS. The right of access is limited solely to the student.
May I view my child’s grades, exams, or academic progress?
Final grades, grades on exams, and other information about academic progress are examples of the confidential information that makes up part of a student’s educational record. This information is protected under FERPA and parents do not have access to it unless the student has provided express, written authorization, or the student is a dependent as defined by the IRS.
What about crisis or emergency situations?
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an educational institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
Records Belong to Students
In summary, the record belongs to the student. Parents only have rights to directory information and access to records granted by the student. This means that parents cannot request grades, the academic transcript, or a class schedule unless the student signs a release indicating that they want to release the information, or the student is the parent’s dependent.
FERPA Questions or Concerns
As a parent, you do have a right to request and receive directory information. You may direct general questions to the Office of the University Registrar.
Office of the University Registrar
Louisiana State University
Room 112, Thomas Boyd Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Clay Benton, Senior Associate Registrar